tv [untitled] CSPAN April 1, 2010 7:30pm-8:00pm EDT
democrat or republican -- things keep getting worse. guest: basically, i do not agree with you. we have been a democracy over 200 years. we have@@@@a2@ @ b@ k' a system, but the federal reserve is not populated by militarists. they are economists and accountants, and it's the last place in the world you would look for military takeover origins. host: "health bill, obama sewing the seeds of a budget
crisis." guest: i have been critical. i do not think it was the right time for the measure, and it makes a bad situation worse. looking at 2009, looking at the deficits that have been incurred, that are projected by the congressional budget office, $13 trillion. that is a lot of money, even for washington. our debt to gdp ratio rises from about 40% at the end of 2008 to an estimated 90% in 2020, according to the calculations from the cbo. that is almost over the figures were at the end of world war ii.
for the president to make his first priority a program that increases spending, even though in a technical sense, it pays for itself through other spending cuts and tax increases, seems to be irresponsible. those spending cuts and tax increases that are projected to cover the deficit, the cost of the program will not, in reality, occur. they will be repealed or modified by congress. the second issue is we are facing nearly $13 trillion of debt in that time. if they can of hot $13 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases, let us apply that to the existing debt before we have new spending. that was my fundamental problem. host: lafayette, louisiana.
dexter on the democrat line. caller: i agree with one thing, people are not ready for change when change comes i am optimistic about the economy, however. i want to say, what mr. obama is doing, in terms of going back and drilling, that is going to put people back to work. less people on unemployment. getting rid of our dependence on foreign oil, that money will be reinvested into the clean energy act. now i hear that this is 10 years of drilling for one year of oil. but that is 10 years of the jobs
that people will have. all of this money could be reinvested. people need to stop compared to the government to their everyday jobs. the corporation can make a change in one day. government is a process. when the healthcare bill takes effect in four years, more people will be covered. we will not have to pick up the cost of the people that go to the emergency room without insurance. the real deficit is in entitlement spending. guest: i agree with you, up to the point. i did not mean to imply an earlier that i was pessimistic, that the economy was not going to recover. it is in recovery, it is slow, but we could be making the
situation worse than it needs to be. but i do think the economy is recovering. i happen to support the president's announcement yesterday of increased oil and gas drilling off the coast. i wish it had come earlier. in will be some years before this pays dividends, but it will reduce -- not eliminate -- our dependence on foreign oil. it will create some jobs, perhaps tens of thousands. it will, to some extent, reduce our trade deficit and stimulate investment in the country. all of that is good. host: "stocks scored best quarter in 12 years." this is the headline in the " wall street journal." -- "usa today."
guest: i would say that most people agree with that comment. it is great when the stock market goes up. certainly better to have it go up and then go down. but if you try to come under the future of the markets based on past movement, -- it is an economic barometer, but it is also psychological. it tends to be moved by the emotions. you have large declines, substantial rebound. we had a bubble at the end of the 1990's. even in 2008, when the current financial crisis was beginning to unfold, the stock market was reasonably optimistic about the future. it was not until the collapse of
lehman brothers that the market really plunged. the market, i would say, is not a great forecaster for the future. host: so what are some of the good predictors? guest: in is a cliche, but it is very hard to predict. back in the 1960's, when i started reporting, the economists had all these economic models and they felt like they could put in any statistic to run these databases to see what happened in the past and then match up to what was happening in the present to predict the future. well, it turned out that the models were good if nothing changed, but they are terrible when there is a change.
host: next phone call. caller: first of all, i am an admirer of yours for many years. i think you are a great columnist. i have been reading your column for about 30 years. i just want to say -- hello? guest: we are here. i appreciate it. caller: i wanted your opinion about the health care bill and the promises that were made over and over again about the fact that this will help the deficit. and i never believed those numbers. i do not think anyone else does. why does the news media accept this as fact when everyone knows that they were just lies? guest: i am skeptical that this
legislation will pay for itself. on the other hand, the cbo did score it with enough tax revenues and spending cuts to cover the increased cost of legislation. by law, the cbo must make their estimates based on what is in the bill, whether or not it thinks the provisions in the bill are realistic. the skepticism arises, not because the bill does not pay for itself on paper, the skepticism arises because we wonder whether or not these provisions will actually occur in practice. cbo has, in its own to crack way, expressed a certain amount of -- technocratic way, expressed a certain amount of
uncertainty. my question is whether or not this pays for itself internally. the government was facing massive deficits as far as the eye could see, escalating deabt -- roughly $13 trillion. rather than enacting new spending measures, which is what this bill is, it seems to me in the government's first obligation would be to pay for some of the spending that it already enacted in the past. that is something that the administration has not done. that is my fundamental objection. host: indiana. tony on the independent line. caller: i have a couple of comments. i would like your input and opinion on something that quite
frankly scares me. i would have never thought that, two years ago, i would be discussing economics, but it really affects the future of my son. you know we are absolutely in the a hole. we have an unfunded liabilities for seniors. our debt is owned by china and japan. so my question to you is, how does that affect policy, how bad do you think inflation will be? host: how old is your son? caller: he is flied. guest: five. guest: i have children -- caller: five. guest: i have children who are in their 20's. i am not too optimistic about
their economic situation. the government had promised people more benefits than people are willing to pay for in taxes. that is the fundamental source of our deficit. at some point, taxes will have to go up and benefits will have to go down. the prime candidate for benefits going down our seniors and retirees. if you take social security, medicare, and medicaid, providing income support to those over 63, medicare provides health insurance, medicare provide long-term care -- those three programs themselves represent more than 40% of the budget, taking on some special items. those items are growing because the baby boomers are about to retire and health costs, so far, are not controlled.
either we are going to bring those costs down, more taxes will have to go up. taxes were primarily paid by the working population, my children and your children. just because i am reasonably pessimistic about that situation does not believe -- mean that i believe we are going to become a poor society. whether or not living standards or disposable income of future generations will continue to go up as they have in the past, seems to me, to be an open question. host: in our discussion about what is a healthy economy, this viwer tweets -- guest: certainly, as a society, we should be prudent.
if everybody did nothing but state, there would be no economy at all. we have to spend to create jobs and what not. you want to have a healthy balance. i think the balance became unhealthy when the americans borrowed so much and let their savings go solo. we are trying to get back to a healthier balance. i do not want to see americans do in the chinese do where they save more than half of their income. that seems to me to be in the city for economic failure. host: hyattsville, maryland. host: hyattsville, maryland. democratic line.
caller: i read your articles, and i was disappointed you were against the health care debate. all of you people, why don't you give up health care? you want to deny somebody else's, but you want to keep your health care. why not give up your health care and give it to others? host: andy, do you have health care? caller: no, i am self- employed. i will benefit from this plan coming up. but these senators have haelth care, and they don't want to give it to other people. guest: i'm not against universal
health insurance coverage, but we do not live in a perfect world, and you have to decide what you are for and against. cost and spending are out of control, and that has been one of the reasons it has been hard for many businesses to cover workers, because health care has become so unaffordable. become unaffordable. and it has also become difficult for individuals to buy individual coverage. once we have that problem under control, then they can begin talking about expanding coverage. it is not that i am against coverage. but in the real world, we have to make choices. i think the administration made the popular choice here, but on policy grounds, and in the long term interest of the country,
was not the right choice. in my view, this health care plan will increase spending and costs more difficult to control. there are a number of provisions in there that alleged to control cost, but when you look at them, they are tokens, essentially. i hope i am wrong. host: vincent on the republican line. north carolina. caller: a lot of the bloated hyperbole coming from washington is due to the lack of people paying attention. i am not a conspiracy theorist, but the way i see this country, it is on its knees. i believe in taking care of the people who cannot help themselves, but this country wants to give itself away. if you look at the pace that the
administration is walking, it will fundamentally change in the country. a constitution is in the trends. everything that built this country -- we are moving in the opposite direction. we are going toward a socialist democracy. if you do not believe that, look at everything this government takes care of. medicare, medicaid, the postal service. everything is in the red. it is small business, independent people who have built this country. the middle class will be stumped -- stomped because of this. people talk about running on repealed and replaced. i do not disagree that the health care system is in trouble, but in need to be addressed in incremental steps.
if this country stays in the direction that we are in, we can say that we will be a european country. guest: i share some of your concerns, but i do not share where you end up, that we are somehow going to some of public -- apocalyptic collapse. we used to have a mixed economy -- perhaps once again -- where we had shared responsibility between the public and private sector. i do not think we are going to become a socialist slight -- society in the sense that the government owns the means of production. often, the result in the political practice are not good, sometimes they are good. but i do not think we are about to sacrifice our freedom and
liberty, even though, as a practical matter, there is a shared responsibility between the government and private sector. looking back, historically, -- perhaps more pessimistic than i feel -- looking back to the 1920's, the government was very small. spend less than 3% of our gross domestic product. after world war ii, the great depression, we emerged with a government that was much more larger with more responsibilities. in some ways, but i agree, it is over-expanded, and we are being irresponsible by not paying for the promises that we made. however, despite the increase of government power and size, the
american economy has generally performed well. we have been in times where we have not performed well, but the larger side of government has not yet been a huge drag on economic growth prosperity. maybe it will be in the future, it is hard to say. but we are very flexible and adaptable, as a society. there are underlying strengths in the economy and society that we tend to underestimate. host: he reference to the postal system. our next guest is the chairman of the postal regulatory commission, talking about cutbacks to ensure a better economic future. pensacola, florida. john on the independent line. caller: i completely agree with the previous caller.
last week, we've received some tremendous insight into the motivation of the health care bill. there was a comment made by representative john dingell who stated after the legislation was passed, -- the legislation needed to be passed in order to control the people. no one is picking up on this and i want to know why. guest: i did not see that comment, i do not know what he meant by it, or the context. i really cannot comment on it. all i can say is, there are an awful lot of people in washington who have a lot to say all the time. it news channels and cable channels tried to report in all, it would be impossible. if i knew the context of that comment, i might be able to reach a judgment on whether it is worth reporting on or not,
but i am not aware of it. host: you worked at the "washington post" in 1970. are members of the public well served by reporting, and generally, in this country? guest: there is always room for improvement. when i started at "the washington post" the business page was a small shadow of what the economic and business coverage is today. we had only about 10 people. lately, i checked, they had 80 people. perhaps a less because of the economy. is the public well served? they are as well serve as you could be in a world where you
can say today what will happen tomorrow. newspapers, magazines, cable tv, radio, blogosphere, we all exaggerate, we all miss stories. but the quantity and quality of business and economics coverage is much better than when i started. host: port huron, michigan. dennis on the democrat line. caller: i am pretty exasperated. i wonder why in the t beggars, and obama haters are treating the president differently. president bush ran in a "recession." he then initiated two wars and
tax cuts for the rich. there were no t bed protesters anywhere -- teabag protesters anywhere. i wonder why the media outlets, these conservative people talking about socialism, when most of them lived in the south which depend on government contracts and do not pay their fair share of the taxes in the country because they are subsidized states. all you have to do is go on line. virginia, georgia, alabama -- all these places where the people are denigrating everything that president obama is trying to do. $9 billion trigger a money in baghdad this appears. there were no teabag protests
about that. guest: regardless of how you feel about the president, it seems to me there was an awful lot of critical coverage of president bush when he was president, just as there is of president obama to date. that is the nature of our system. i would not want in any other way. i am not an expert on the tea party movement, but one difference between president bush and now is we are just coming out of an awful recession. you are bound to get a reaction from the public when times are this bad. i would put part of that down to the severity of the economic decline. host: last phone call from washington, d.c.
richard. caller: i wonder if you could segue from diplomatic to domestic and national security implications. what do you think about us zero wings so much to the chinese -- us owing so much to the chinese? also, our great debt to the oil- producing states of the world. will this not have serious national security implications in the future? guest: i am more worried about the under-evaluation of the chinese currency which gives them rise in their currency in the trade process. in part, their exports are competitively-advantage by their
artificially low currency, and they have to invest that in something. that just increases the amount of american dollars that they buy. that is the fundamental source of economic stability in the world, it seems to me, and we ought to be looking at that, not the sheer amount of debt that the chinese have to. what are they going to do with him? if they try to destabilize the world economy by selling all their debt, it would hurt them perhaps as much, if not more, then it would hurt us. host:
>> the impact on your health care coverage. rayola dougher offers perspective on offshore drilling, and a correspondent discusses the latest employment numbers and the state of the u.s. economy. >> this weekend on "booktv," the best-selling book. afterwards, jack matlock on gorbachev's role in bringing down the soviet empire. "superpower illusions." and "the history of white people" by nell irvin